Monthly Archives: September 2011

Quotidian quotidian

Blogging is by definition personal.

It’s not news. It’s not an opinion column. There are no editors. There is no research team. It’s just little old Tim sitting in his living room, researching topics and writing around 1000 words, every day from 4am to 7am. For three years I’ve done that. I’ve published 1,673 articles and I’ve read 43,944 comments.

The topics I’ve written about have covered everything from racism to Denilson and nearly every article is extemporaneous. I rarely know what I’m going to write about before I write it. This is my stream of consciousnesses laid bare for all to see.

If it wasn’t personal it would be work. I write about what I like. My experience as an Arsenal fan. And my perspective on every topic comes from my experience.

My experience is that I’m 40 years old. I’m college educated and I work in higher ed. I started reading from a very young age. My first love was science fiction but my head is filled with the words of so many other writers the list of which here would probably cover another 1,000 posts. To put it succinctly, I don’t quote from texts that I haven’t read (ahem, Mr. Barton). If you see a quote from the Bible, from Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, from Harry Potter, or Shakespeare’s Othello, it’s because I’ve read it. I’ve also read the Arsenal cannon: Fever Pitch, Rebels for the Cause, Arsenal (the making of a modern superclub), etc.  And I read thousands of articles a week in my research for this blog.

I’ve lived in Germany. I’ve studied Japanese and at one time was semi-fluent. I lived in Hawaii and in fact, that’s where I graduated high school.

Like Stan Kroenke, I started following Arsenal “10 or 12 years ago”  and my experience of football is tainted by that context. I learned about football through Arsenal. From the experience of winning the title at Old Trafford to the Carling Cup final loss — a match I attended — everything I know about football I learned from Arsenal. It’s going to be very hard when Arsene Wenger retires.

I’ve been to London five times. All for Arsenal. I’ve seen Theirry Henry and Robert Pires at Highbury. Gods among men, they were.

And in the three years that I’ve been writing this blog I’ve learned so much more about Arsenal and global football from my readers than I ever could have learned from simply reading articles online.

That’s my context. Since everyone seemed to be wondering yesterday.

Oh and the “Qq” at the end of the blog is because I don’t have a “q” on my keyboard and I need to copy and paste a “q” occasionally. I love the idea though that it stands for quotidian quotidian or “everyday ordinary.”

Qq

The most sick song in football

Harry Redknapp has kicked up the flames of the North London Derby on Sunday by reminding both sets of fans that Emmanuel Adebayor not only exists but is playing for Tottenham. Speaking to the gathered press, Redknapp reminded everyone about Adebayor’s celebration while at City, called Arsenal supporters abusive, and claimed the Munich chant is “the most sick song in football.”

Redknapp came to the defense of Adebayor’s 90 yard run and celebration in front of the Arsenal away fans at the City of Manchester stadium by saying that it was acceptable because he’d been getting “dogs’ abuse” from the Gunner’s faithful. He further warned that more abuse will be coming on Sunday and as I know a number of people who are away supporters I can attest that there will be an atmosphere of spite directed toward Adebayor.

But the issue for me is abusive chanting in general. Adebayor claims that the reason he celebrated in front of the Gunners on that fateful day is because the away supporters were singing a song that was ironically popularized by Tottenham during the time that the Togo forward played in red and white. I’m reprinting it here because without the full chant, you can’t unpack the many layers of nastiness that lie at the heart of the song.

Adebayor, Adebayor, your dad washes elephants and your mother’s a whore.

Saying a black African’s father washes elephants is blatantly racist and I don’t care who it comes from. It’s probably because I’m a Yank and we tend to be very sensitive to these issues but I’d be willing to bet you any amount of money that the NBA would not allow a chant like that to happen more than once before the issue was dealt with decisively. In fact, hearing even 10 people at an NBA game sing “Dikembe Mutombo, your father washes elephants” is unthinkable it’s so racist.  Still, Tottenham Hotspurs as a club defended the chant and UEFA took no action. Not that this was any surprise. UEFA has never seen fit to actually deal with racism as evidenced by everything from the countless banana incidents to the Busquets mouthing “momo momo” to Marcelo.

The other thing that bothers me about this particular chant is that the part about Adebayor’s mother being a whore is completely lost in any discussion. Sexism in football is so ubiquitous that even blatantly sexist men are given their careers back after they say deplorable things about women such as “hanging out the back of them.” This type of sexism is ancient. So old that Iago, who personifies evil in Shakespeare’s Othello, goads Desdemona’s father Brabantio by saying “your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.” To which Brabantio replies simply “Thou are a villain.” Even in Shakespeare’s time it was considered villainous to talk about a woman that way. So why is it acceptable now?

Which brings me to the pedophile chant, sung by all clubs when they want to show how truly classless they are. At this point, supporters are so brazen about the various pedophile chants directed at Arsene Wenger that they are clearly audible through the television over here in the States. And I find it reprehensible that this slur is allowed to continue.

Is it worse than the Munich chant? Why does the measurement of how out of bounds a chant is matter? Can’t we just agree that singing about “pissing on Matt Busby”, that Adebayor’s dad “washes elephants”, calling someone’s mom a whore, holocaust chants, or that “Wenger is a fucking pedophile” are all simply out of bounds?

For Arsenal’s part I really hope that Gooners don’t dip into the shit stained mud of the Adebayor chant on Sunday. And for Tottenham’s part I really hope that people like Harry Redknapp go off into retirement, because his tin-eared defense of some chants over others sounds more like he’s stoking flames than trying to put out the fires in the stands.

In the end, it seems like the lowest common denominator wins. People chant these chants because the people sitting next to them either join in or refuse to say something. The chants are all re-used melodies from other songs, reworked to fit something simple that gives the chanter a bit of a charge by making them feel dirty for being blatantly racist.

I’m not suggesting that songs should no longer be directed at players. Rather that with just a little creativity we can still have fun, point out a player’s flaws, goad someone, and not be either racist, sexist, or call someone a pedophile.

Here, this took me all of 10 minutes:

Stand by your Emman

Sometimes its hard to be Adebayor
Giving all your love to just one team.

You’ll have bad times
And he’ll be offsides times
Doing things that you don’t understand.

But if you love him you’ll forgive him
Stop singing songs about washing elephants
And if you love him
be proud of his watches
‘Cause after all he’s just a rich man.

Stand by your Emman,
Give him a contract to cling to
And a warm Bentley to come to
When nights are cold and lonely.

Stand by your Emman,
And tell the world you love him
Keep giving all the cash you can!
Stand by your Emman!

It’s really not that hard, folks. Let’s not give them the satisfaction of calling us racists. Why would we let Tottenham have anything over us?

Qq

Arsenal v. Olympiakos: beware of Greeks bearing gifts

DEEEEEEENCH http://twitter.com/#!/EmmanuelF4/status/118992472167825408

Known Knowns

It would be fitting if somehow I could craft today’s match preview of Arsenal versus Olympiakos into a Homeric epic. It has everything to make a great epic poem: injuries, intrigue, a weakened hero, a scrappy underdog, an impregnable wall that has been breached, Brad Pitt, some wild-eyed Germans, and Greeks. Unfortunately, I loaned my comic book version of the Odyssey to Joey Barton and he won’t return it: he keeps babbling on about “philology versus philosophy” or something.

So, instead of a poem written in Greek, I’ll just tell you what I know.

First, no one is fit!

Walcott is not fit, he has a minor knee problem. He got a kick, but there is no damage in the knee.

Gervinho is not fit, he has a minor muscular problem that is very, very mild.

Koscielny is not fit, he has an ankle problem which is a consequence of the tackle by Nigel Reo Coker, which was a fair tackle but a bit late. He has a chance to play at Tottenham.

Squillaci is not completely fit, he should be back in the group on Friday or Saturday.

It is unfortunate and we are all very sad at the club that it has happened to such a young boy (Wilshere). The news from the operation is very positive but of course he will be out for  quite a long time. It is very difficult to predict how long he will be out, but at least four months certainly.

Benayoun will miss the next week due to a muscular problem. It is the thigh.

Djourou will miss the next week due to a muscular problem. It is the hamstring.

Vermalen is just over two weeks. So it should be after the international break.

Diaby is three or four weeks. So it should be after the international break.

Those are all quotes from Arsene Wenger on the state of Arsenal’s fitness.

I can also tell you that Robin van Persie has scored 17% of his 100 goals in the Champions League. That’s a percentage which is up there with Thierry Henry who scored 18% of his goals (42 of 226) in Europe as well. Of course, that’s not really fair to the other guys like Ian Wright, because Arsenal weren’t consistently in Europe every year for 14 consecutive years — before Arsene Wenger arrived.

Olympiakos for their part have won their first two domestic matches scoring five and conceding three and lost their home opener in the Champions League to a goal from Arsenal Summer loan target, Lucho Gonzales of Marseille. Oly also committed a group high 21 fouls in that game if that means anything to you (Arsenal are the cleanest team in the group with just 7 fouls) and have the highest possession percentage in the Group.

The game is being shown live on Fox Soccer Plus for us North Americans and unfortunately, the replay is also being shown only on FSP. Since today is the first day of school, I can’t take any time off from work and that means that I will be watching the game on replay at 5:30pm at Doyles.

Finally, there are two little weird facts that you should know. First, Olympiakos have not won in England in 9 attempts, conceding 29 goals and scoring just one. And second, did you know that Chamakh knocked them out of the Champions League last year (2010)? With a header, of course.

Known Unknowns

I can’t find a quote from Arsene confirming that Miquel is actually injured but everyone seems to agree that he is and so that means Perm and Song will play center back, right?

On the one hand, this is a great chance for people who want to freak out and say that Arsenal should have bought Gary Cahill: Arsenal are down to our 5th (or 6th) choice center half! On the other hand, Arsenal have to play Spurs on Sunday and giving some of our players who are still in pre-season form a rest might not be a bad plan.

If you consider that playing center half should be less physically exhausting than center mid, then it looks kind of like Arsene is resting Koz (Arsenal’s best aerial player) and also kind of resting Song.

That means in midfield Arsene will have to choose from Frimpong and The Coq™ to put next to Arteta and Ramsey. Up front I expect Robin to play along side Arshavin and I’m going on a limb and saying that Arsene will play The Ox™.

That’s right you heard it here first, we could see the emergence of The Coq™ and The Ox™ in the Champions League. Or not. There’s a reason why I call this section the Known Unknowns.

As for Olympiakos’ team selection and style of play I find it hilarious that the Beeb doesn’t even list who Olympiakos will pick from today.  There’s some clue over on UEFA.com but that the BBC doesn’t even bother looking up who Olympiakos could pick from is a mystery.

Also in my research I found out that the International Business Times will be covering the event live. Why? I have no idea.

And finally, I found this quote from Olympiakos’ manager (Valverde) infinitely fascinating:

Every time we have clubs playing against each other the one that will win is the one which imposes its own style of play and who will do it better. Usually the team that has to change its style for the other is the one that will lose.

I never thought about it but it’s true. If Stoke play throwball-hail-mary and they impose that style on Arsenal, then they win. If Arsenal play throughball-tiki-taka and they impose that style on Stoke then they usually win. Right? Is football really that simple?

Unknown Unknowns

So all of a sudden they wake up one mornin’ and the Greeks have gone. And there outside the city walls they’ve left this gift; this tribute to their valiant foes: a huge wooden horse, just large enough to happily contain 500 Greeks in full battle dress and still leave adequate room for toilet facilities? Are you telling me not one Trojan goes, “Hang on a minute, that’s a bit of a funny prezzy. What’s wrong with a couple hundred pairs of socks and some aftershave?” No, they don’t — they just wheel it in and all decide to go for an early night! People that stupid deserve to be kerpowed, zapped and kersplatted in their beds! You know what the big joke is? From this particular phase in history we derive the phrase, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts,” when it would be much more logical to derive the phrase, “Beware of Trojans, they’re complete smegheads!”

Beware of Trojans, they’re complete smegheads indeed.

Qq